Vanessa Barneveld guest post

Seeing the Unseen

1ghost noun \ˈgōst\
: the soul of a dead person thought of as living in an unseen world or as appearing to living people

a disembodied soul; especially :  the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog home, Kylie! It’s a pleasure to be here. I have to ask you, is your place haunted? ’Cause I’m putting it out there now: I am a believer. Spirits, ghouls, ghosts, apparitions…whatever you want to call them, I truly think they exist. I believe we leave an imprint of ourselves when we leave this earth. Some people can see this imprint, but the majority of us are blind to it. It was my mother who normalised the concept of the spirit world for me. She filled my head with stories about ghosts she’d seen and heard. Mum made them sound like such a cool experiences that I would wish so hard for a ghost encounter. A Casper the Friendly Ghost kind, not a horror-movie-style poltergeist kind, that is.

I’ve shivered through ghost tours, scared myself silly watching countless ghost shows and movies, worked in a haunted cinema, got married in a haunted inn, lived in haunted houses (including my current home). But have I seen the unseen myself? I’m not sure. That’s not to say I’ve never walked into a room and felt something. Like an unusual drop in temperature. A certain thickening of the air. Chills racing along my spine.

When my stepmother passed away, the next day I could swear I smelled her perfume and felt her hand on my shoulder. She adored lady beetles, and when I first visited her grave, a little red beetle landed on my arm. Whether that was a sign of her existence after death or just a coincidence, it comforted me. The question is, do I really have a semi-functional sixth sense? Or do I spend too much time in draughty old places in need of pest control?

One person whose sixth sense is working overtime is Keira Nolan, the 16-year-old heroine in my debut YA, This Is Your Afterlife (Bloomsbury Spark).

Keira’s finally got what she wanted—the captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost and she’s the only one who can see him. Jimmy’s ghost isn’t something to be afraid of. In fact, he’s endearing to her. Keira’s heart bleeds for a life cut short, and she’ll do anything to help Jimmy’s spirit find peace. Even it if means teaming up with his prickly-yet-attractive brother, Dan. But she struggles with being suddenly psychic. (To be more accurate, she’s suddenly clairvoyant, but it doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?) Would people think she’s deluded? Or would the person responsible for Jimmy’s death use Keira’s gift against her?

Thanks again for having me here, Kylie. I’d like to ask your readers, have you ever seen a ghost?



10 thoughts on “Vanessa Barneveld guest post

  1. annacampbell says:

    Hi Kylie! Hi Vanessa! Vanessa, firstly congratulations on THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE! Wahooo! I hope you’re enjoying your debut as a new author. Loved your piece on ghosts – I have to say I’m with Hamlet in saying that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy so I have no difficulty with the idea of ghosts. I’ve never seen one – but as you say, I’ve definitely had the tingles now and again!

    • Vanessa Barneveld says:

      Hi, Anna! So lovely of you to visit me here and offer your congratulations — thank you! That’s a terrific outlook on the unseen from Hamlet there. I sometimes get tingles and feelings. And I’m convinced a ghost once gave me a bruise, but that’s another story!

  2. Kandy Shepherd says:

    Hi Vanessa and Kylie
    You make the ghost figure of JImmy so believable in THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, I’m not at all surprised to read you believe in ghosts! Have I ever seen a ghost? No. But I have had experiences that have given me comfort. I awoke early one morning having had a lovely dream that a beloved relative was in the room with me saying goodbye and giving me a hug. When her son called later in the day to tell me she had died at about the time I had awoken, I wasn’t at all surprised. Who knows?

    • Vanessa Barneveld says:

      Hi, Kandy! I actually got a nice warm feeling reading about your dream. I imagine it must have been a great comfort that you were able say goodbye to your relative in a unique way.

      That’s so nice of you to say my Jimmy’s a believable ghost. He feels real to me. If I had to pick a ghost to hang out with me, I’d want it to be him. 🙂

  3. Sharon Archer says:

    Hi Kylie and Vanessa! I’ve never seen a ghost but my mind is definitely open to the possibility – but if I ever see one, I’d like to put in an order for a friendly ghost not a spirit bent on ill-deeds please!!
    When we were in England, we stayed in a B&B that was supposedly haunted by a roundhead soldier from the civil war. Apparently some guests had had scary encounters but I’m disappointed (or am I secretly pleased!? LOL) to say he didn’t come to visit us!
    Vanessa, huge congratulations on THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE!!

    • Vanessa Barneveld says:

      Thank you, Sharon! Yes, I hear Casper’s quite friendly. And don’t forget Jimmy from This Is Your Afterlife — I’ve a feeling you’d be very pleased to see him. 🙂

      I’m glad the solider’s spirit left you alone to enjoy your holiday! I must admit, every time I check in to a hotel in older cities, the presence of ghosts immediately crosses my mind. It’s not “Oh, I hope there’s a nice view from the 13th floor.” It’s “Oh, I hope this place isn’t haunted!”

  4. anniewest says:

    Hi Vanessa,

    Huge congratulations on the release of ‘This is Your Afterlife’! It sounds fabulous and I’ve got it on my teetering TBR pile – soon, I promise myself!

    No, I’ve never seen a ghost, but last year I heard one! Our beloved 16 yo dog passed quietly away. She’d been my companion in particular as I work from home and I’d got used to getting up and down all the time to let her in or out when she scratched on the glass sliding door. Several nights after she died, when I was home alone I heard the very distinct sound of her scratch on the door near me. There was no wind, no branches or anything else to make a sound against the glass. I have to say it made me feel good, hearing her again.

    • Vanessa Barneveld says:

      Hi, Annie! Oh, I’m just melting over your story! Thanks so much for sharing it. How sweet of your dog to check on you one last time. It must have been very comforting. These kinds of experiences make you realize just how much (little?) we understand about life and death.

      Kylie, thanks again for having me on your blog. Happy Halloween to you!

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